Scott Morrison was slammed online for failing to publicly congratulate Jacinda Ardern for her landslide victory in the New Zealand election.
As messages of support poured in from politicians across the globe, celebrities and even the Dalai Lama, social media users were quick to point out Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hadn’t sent his well wishes publicly.
But Ms Ardern on Sunday refuted any rumours of bad blood between the pair, revealing he was ‘quick off the bat’ to call her and personally congratulate her.
The 40-year-old mother-of-one said she received a ‘few lovely messages’ from world leaders including the Australian PM, ahead of the second Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park on Sunday.
‘Scott Morrison was very quick off the bat last night but also reminded me of our wager today on the rugby,’ Ms Ardern said.
Mr Morrison’s office said he privately congratulated her as soon as her victory was announced, and said the pair enjoy a ‘very strong personal working relationship’.
Ms Ardern led her Labour party to a landslide victory against her opposition during this weekend’s election, and can form a majority parliament for the first time in 50 years
Pictured: Ms Ardern and Scott Morrison during a joint conference in February 2020, where they discussed Australia’s stance on deportation
But critics condemned the PM for his apparent public ‘snub’ of the Kiwi leader, and described him as ‘churlish’ for not posting a message of support.
‘Ardern has shown him up. She’s competent, compassionate and sensible,’ one person wrote online.
‘Still no tweet from Scott Morrison congratulating Jacinda Ardern? It seems a bit churlish to wait this long,’ another added.
Ms Ardern led her Labour party to a landslide victory against her opposition during this weekend’s election, and can form a majority parliament for the first time in 50 years.
With more than 90 per cent of ballots counted, her centre-left Labour Party had won 49 per cent of votes, enough to secure 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the country’s first majority since 1996.
The centre-right National Party had only 27 per cent of the vote and 35 seats, a disastrous result for the main opposition party which suffered its second-worst tally in its 84-year history.
Politicians around the world, including UK leader Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among the first to congratulate the PM.
‘Congratulations @jacindaardern for winning a second term as New Zealand PM. From our work together to tackle climate change to forging an exciting new trade partnership, the UK and NZ have great things to look forward to in the future,’ Prime Minister and conservative party leader Mr Johnson said.
Social media users have condemned the PM for his apparent ‘snub’ of the Kiwi leader, and described him as ‘churlish’ for not posting a public message of support
Mr Trudeau said: ‘Congratulations, @JacindaArdern. Whether it’s fighting climate change, empowering women and girls around the world, or ensuring equitable vaccine distribution, I look forward to continuing our work together – and keeping the Canada-New Zealand friendship strong.’
The Dalai Lama even congratulated Ms Ardern for her victory.
‘I congratulate Jacinda Ardern on her party’s resounding victory in the New Zealand general election,’ he said.
‘I admire the courage, wisdom and leadership, as well as the calm, compassion and respect for others, she has shown in these challenging times.’
A spokesman for Mr Morrison said the prime minister contacted Ms Ardern last night and both he and his wife passed on their congratulations to her and partner Clarke and daughter Neve.
‘The Prime Minister contacted Jacinda Ardern last night and he and Jen passed on their congratulations to PM Ardern, Clarke and Neve, which they appreciated.
‘The PMs are both looking forward to the Bledisloe today at Eden Park where they have a carry over bet from last week.
‘The PMs have always had a very strong personal working relationship which will continue.’
But Twitter has been alight with comments from disgruntled users who claim it is insulting that the leader of New Zealand’s closest neighbour is yet to publicly congratulate her.
‘Has Scott Morrison sent our congratulations to Jacinda Ardern yet? Or is he still under a doona somewhere? He does seem to be unraveling pretty rapidly,’ wrote actor Mark Langham.
‘Has Scott Morrison congratulated his counterpart on her thumping win yet?,’ asked Lucy Downes.
‘Have I missed Scott Morrison’s congratulatory tweet?,’ added Cathy Thomson.
Politicians around the world, including UK leader Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among the first to congratulate the PM
Ms Ardern and Mr Morrison haven’t always enjoyed the friendliest of relationships and butted heads earlier this year over Australia’s deportation policy.
She previously admitted the policy could be ‘corrosive’ to the friendship between the two nations, after Mr Morrison expressed his intentions to deport criminals who were born in New Zealand.
Ms Ardern has insisted many of the criminals have ‘almost no connection’ to New Zealand.
‘In friendships there will sometimes be issues that can be corrosive,’ she told Newshub at the time.
‘Deportation continues to be one of those issues.’
The duo have also not seen eye-to-eye on climate change policy.
During the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu in 2019 – an independent island nation in the South Pacific – Ardern warned that the Morrison Government ‘will have to answer to the Pacific’ on global warming.
Her comments prompted conservative former radio host Alan Jones to encourage Mr Morrison to ‘shove a sock down her throat’.
But the relationship between the two nations seems stronger than ever, proven by the COVID-19 bubble which began just last Friday.
Voters rewarded Ms Ardern for her successful handling of COVID-19 after the country extinguished the disease with only 1,883 cases and 25 deaths recorded
Former Labor party leader Bill Shorten congratulated Ms Ardern on social media
New Zealanders have been welcomed into New South Wales and the Northern Territory without the need to quarantine – a clear message that Mr Morrison and the Australian government is satisfied with the steps taken to stem the spread of the virus across the ditch.
Ms Ardern will not consider opening her borders to Australians until the entire nation manages 28 days straight without a single case of community transmission.
Voters rewarded Ms Ardern for her successful handling of COVID-19 after the country extinguished the disease with only 1,883 cases and 25 deaths recorded.
As the pandemic began to gather pace across the globe, the PM in March opted for a draconian lockdown and sealed off the country’s border to all but returning citizens while shuttering non-essential shops and bars.
Coupled with New Zealand’s obvious geographical advantage – an island with a sparse population – the virus was not allowed to spread to the same extent it has done so rapidly in other nations.
In a unifying victory speech at Auckland Town Hall, Ms Ardern said: ‘Tonight’s result has been strong and it is clear that Labour will lead the government for the next three years.
‘We will build back better from the COVID crisis. This is our opportunity to take on poverty and inequality. Let’s step forward together.’
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives at an Auckland cafe the day after securing a landslide win in New Zealand’s election